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New World. All these European colonies contained the elements, if not the development, of a complete democracy. Two causes led to this result. It may safely be advanced, that on leaving the mothercountry the emigrants had in general no notion of superiority over one another. The happy and the powerful do not go into exile, and there are no surer guarantees of equality among men than poverty and misfortune. It happened, however, on several occasions that persons of rank were driven to America by political and religious quarrels. Laws were made to establish a gradation of ranks; but it was soon found that the soil of America was entirely opposed to a territorial aristocracy. To bring that refractory land into cultivation, the constant and interested exertions of the owner himself was necessary; and when the ground was prepared, its produce was found to be insufficient to enrich a master and a farmer at the same time. The land was then naturally broken up into small portions, which the proprietor cultivated for himself. Land is the basis of an aristocracy, which clings to the soil that supports it ; for it is not by privileges alone, nor by birth, but by landed property handed down from generation to generation, that an aristocracy is constituted. A nation may present immense fortunes and extreme wretchedness; but unless those fortunes are territorial, there is no aristocracy, but simply the class of the rich and that of the poor. All the British colonies had then a great degree of similarity at the epoch of their settlement. All of them, from their first beginning, seemed destined to behold the growth, not of the aristocratic liberty of their mother-country, but of that freedom of the middle and lower orders of which the history of the world has as yet furnished no complete example. In this general uniformity several striking differences were however discernible, which it is necessary to point out. Two branches may be distinguished in the Anglo-American family, which have hitherto grown up without entirely commingling; the one in the South, the other in the North. Virginia received the first English colony; the emigrants took pos. session of it in 1607. The idea that mines of gold and silver are the sources of national wealth, was at that time singularly prevalent in Europe; a fatal delusion, which has done more to impoverish the nations which adopted it, and has cost more lives in America, than the united influence of war and bad laws. The men sent to Virginia"
• The charter granted by the Crown of England in 1609 stipulated, among other
were seekers of gold, adventurers without resources and without character, whose turbulent and restless spirits endangered the infant colony,✽ and rendered its progress uncertain. The artisans and agriculturists arrived afterwards; and although they were a more moral and orderly race of men, they were in nowise above the level of the inferior classes in England. No lofty conceptions, no intellectual system directed the foundation of these new settlements. The colony was scarcely established when slavery was introduced, and this was the main circumstance which has exercised so prodigious an influence on the character, the laws, and all the future prospects of the South. Slavery, as we shall afterwards show, dishonors labor; it introduces idleness into society, and, with idleness, ignorance and pride, luxury and distress. It enervates the powers of the mind, and benumbs the activity of man. The influence of slavery, united to the English charac. ter, explains the manners and the social condition of the Southern States. - In the North, the same English foundation was modified by the most opposite shades of character; and here I may be allowed to enter into some details. The two or three main ideas which constitute the basis of the social theory of the United States were first combined in the Northern British colonies, more generally denominated the states of New England.§ The principles of New England spread at first to the neighboring states; they then passed successively to the more distant ones; and at length they imbued the whole Confederation. They now extend their influence beyond its limits over the whole American world. The civilization of New England has been like a beacon lit upon a hill, which after it has diffused its warmth around, tinges the distant horizon with its glow. The foundation of New England was a novel spectacle, and all the circumstances attending it were singular and original. The large majority of colonies have been first inhabited either by men without education and without resources, driven by their poverty and their misconduct from the land which gave them birth, or by speculators and adventurers greedy of gain. Some settlements cannot even boast so honorable an origin; St. Domingo was founded by buccaneers; and, at the present day, the criminal courts of England supply the population of Australia. The settlers who established themselves on the shores of New England all belonged to the more independent classes of their native country. Their union on the soil of America at once presented the singular phaenomenon of a society containing neither lords nor common people, neither rich nor poor. These men possessed, in proportion to their number, a greater mass of intelligence than is to be found in any European nation of our own time. All, without a single exception, had received a good education, and many of them were known in Europe for their talents and their acquirements. The other colonies had been founded by adventurers without family; the emigrants of New England brought with them the best elements of order and morality, they landed in the desert accompanied by their wives and children. But what most especially distinguished them was the aim of their undertaking. They had not been obliged by necessity to leave their country, the social position they abandoned was one to be regretted, and their means of subsistence were certain. Nor did they cross the Atlantic to im. prove their situation or to increase their wealth; the call which summoned them from the comforts of their homes was purely intellectual ; and in facing the inevitable sufferings of exile, their object was the triumph of an idea. The emigrants, or, as they deservedly styled themselves, the Pilgrims, belonged to that English sect, the austerity of whose principles had acquired for them the name of Puritans. Puritanism was not merely a religious doctrine, but it corresponded in many points with the most absolute democratic and republican theories. It was this tendency which had aroused its most dangerous adversaries. Persecuted by the Government of the mother-country, and disgusted by the habits of a society opposed to the rigor of their own principles, the Puritans went forth to seek some rude and unfrequented part of the
conditions, that the adventurers should pay to the Crown a fifth of the produce of all gold and silver mines. See Marshall's ‘Life of Washington,’ vol. i. p. 18–66. * A large portion of the adventurers, says Stith, (History of Virginia,) were unprincipled young men of family, whom their parents were glad to ship off, discharged servants, fraudulent bankrupts, or debauchees: and others of the same class, people more apt to pillage and destroy than to assist the settlement, were the seditious chiefs who easily led this band into every kind of extravagance and excess. See for the history of Virginia the following works:— 'History of Virginia, from the first Settlements in the year 1624, by Smith. 'History of Virginia,' by William Stith. 'History of Virginia, from the earliest period,' by Beverley. † It was not till some time later that a certain number of rich English capitalists came to fix themselves in the colony. ‡ Slavery was introduced about the year 1620 by a Dutch vessel, which landed twenty negroes on the banks of the river James. See Chalmer. § The States of New England are those situated to the East of the Hudson; they are now six in number : 1. Connecticut; 2. Rhode Island; 3. Massachusetts; 4. Vermont; 5. New Hampshire; 6. Maine.
world, where they could live according to their own opinions, and worship God in freedom. * A few quotations will throw more light upon the spirit of these pious adventurers than all we can say of them. Nathaniel Morton,✽ the historian of the first years of the Settlement, thus opens his subject : "Gentle Reader, "I have for some length of time looked upon it as a duty incumbent, especially on the immediate successors of those that have had so large experience of those many memorable and signal demonstrations of God's goodness, viz. the first beginners of this Plantation in New England, to commit to writing his gracious dispensations on that behalf; having so many inducements thereunto, not onely otherwise, but so plentifully in the Sacred Scriptures: that so, what we have seen, and what our fathers have told us, (Psalm lxxviii. 3, 4,) we may not hide from our children, shewing to the generations to come the praises Of the Lord ; that especially the seed of Abraham his servant, and the children of Jacob his chosen (Psalm cv. 5, 6,) may remember his marvellous works in the beginning and progress of the planting of New England, his wonders and the judgments of his mouth; how that God brought a vine into this wilderness ; that He cast out the heathen and planted it; that he made room for it, and caused it to take deep root ; and it filled the land (Psalm lxxx. 8, 9.) And not onely so, but also that He hath guided his people by his strength to his holy habitation, and planted them in the mountain of his inheritance in respect of precious Gospel-enjoyments: and that as especially God may have the glory of all unto whom it is most due ; so also some rays of glory may reach the names of those blessed Saints, that were the main instruments and the beginning of this happy enterprise." It is impossible to read this opening paragraph without an involuntary feeling of religious awe; it breathes the very savor of Gospel antiquity. The sincerity of the author heightens his power of language. The band which to his eyes was a mere party of adventurers, gone forth to seek their fortune beyond seas, appears to the reader as the germ of a great nation wafted by Providence to a predestined shore. The author thus continues his narrative of the departure of the first pilgrims. "So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had
* “New England's Memorial, p. 13. Boston, 1826. See also ‘Hutchinson's History,’ vol. ii. p. 440.
been their resting-place for above eleven years; but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country," where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. xi. 16,) and therein quieted their spirits. When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready ; and such of their friends as could not come with them, followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love. The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them ; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away that were thus loth to depart, their reverend pastor falling down on bis knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with most fervent prayers unto the Lord and his blessing ; and then, with mutual embraces and many tears, they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.” The emigrants were about 150 in number, including the women and the children. Their object was to plant a colony on the shores of the Hudson ; but after having been driven about for some time in the Atlantic Ocean, they were forced to land on that arid coast of New England which is now the site of the town of Plymouth. The rock is still shown on which the pilgrims disembarked.✽ "But before we pass on," continues our historian, "let the reader with me make a pause, and seriously consider this poor people's present condition, the more to be raised up to admiration of God's goodness towards them in their preservation: for being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectation, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season
* This rock is become an object of veneration in the United States. I have seen bits of it carefully preserved in several towns of the Union. Does not this sufficiently show that all human power and greatness is in the soul of man Here is a stone which the feet of a few outcasts pressed for an instant, and this stone becomes famous; it is treasured by a great mation, its very dust is shared as a relic : and what is become of the gateways of a thousand palaces !